If you're on the keto diet, peanut butter is a no (womp womp), but you have other options.

By Shannon Bauer
Updated May 08, 2019
Photo: Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock

Nuts and nut butters are a great way to add fat to smoothies and snacks. Eating more of these healthy fats is crucial when you're on the ketogenic diet. But is peanut butter keto-friendly? Nope–On the keto diet, peanut butter is off limits, fatty as it may be. Peanuts are technically a legume and are not allowed on the keto diet. Legumes are forbidden on the keto diet because of their high carb counts (along with these other healthy but high-carb foods you can't have on the keto diet). That includes chickpeas (30 grams per 1/2 cup), black beans (23 grams), and kidney beans (19 grams). Some believe the lectins in legumes may prevent the fat-burning state of ketosis.

While you can't have peanut butter on the keto diet, you can enjoy an alternative nut butter variety. We asked Robyn Blackford, a registered dietitian nutritionist for the Ketogenic Diet Program at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, to comment on the best alternative: cashews.

Cashews pack a punch of energy and have strong fat-burning properties, says Blackford. When it comes to macronutrients, cashews and almonds are similar and are both an option while on keto, but they offer different micronutrients. Cashews are high in copper (regulating cholesterol and iron), magnesium (prevents muscle weakness and cramps), and phosphorus (supports strong bones and a healthy metabolism), says Blackford. A diet with enough magnesium is crucial, especially in the first week of the keto diet, to prevent the dreaded "keto flu."

If you want a keto-friendly cashew butter, look for one that's low in sugar and high in fat. Crazy Richard's Cashew Butter ($11, crazyrichards.com) and Simply Balanced Cashew Butter ($7, target.com) both have 17 grams of fat and 8 grams of net carbs per serving. If you prefer a bit more flavor, try Julie's Real Coconut Vanilla Bean Cashew Butter ($16, juliesreal.com) with a slightly higher but still reasonable 9 grams of net carbs (just be sure to limit your serving size because of the honey). Or to boost the healthy fat profile, consider blending your own nut butter with cashews and coconut oil, suggests Blackford.

It's possible you'll return to PB when you're back on carbs. But when it comes to the keto diet, cashews are king.

Comments (4)

January 21, 2019
I've been doing the keto diet for a couple of years now, and there's one thing I can tell you: the longer you follow it, the more benefits you get! It also gets much easier! That's because, once your body is fat adapted for a long period of time, it get's easier to get back into ketosis. You simply need to train your body to do it. Once you've been fat adapted for a few months, you can even add a few carbohydrates back into your diet from time to time. So understand that you aren't saying goodbye to carbs forever, you are just getting smarter about how to use them! For more go to http://www.easyketomealplan.org/
June 3, 2018
Following a Keto Diet has given me great results. I found this recipe book very useful. https://bit.ly/2EBANEY Contains lots of recipes and meal plans
March 3, 2018
I think counting calories and food intake is has very little effect on the diet overall ... i think we personally need a a new way of dieting without counting calories , carb and protein ... i read a bout a new and effective way of dieting without losing your mind and your , Check it here :http://bit.ly/2FOpHxY
March 1, 2018
net carbs of peanuts are 7.5g per 100g If you're making your own cashew butter net carbs are 27g almonds net carbs are 9g I don't know why those scientists said what they did but you're better off making your own peanut butter rather than making cashew butter...